Hot answers tagged pre-fermentation
Do not boil the cherries. Do not boil the juice, either. You will create pectin, which will cause cloudiness in the cider among other things. Instead, you have two options: 1) Bring the cherries and juice up to temperature (at least 150 degrees) and hold for 30 minutes (I've seen as low as 10). If you use pasteurized juice (no preservatives!), use 2 ...
I don't think you have to worry about being harmed by the beer, but you probably should worry about the flavor. If there's mold on top, I'd toss it.
As always, it depends. Boiling uncovered makes mineral content higher, but lets volatile components to evaporate. Boiling covered - opposite. We don't know what's in your water, so we can't reliably tell which is better. Ideally, mineral content is low, and your water supply uses ozone instead of chlorine-based substances to prevent bacteria growth - then, ...
Sometimes the problem is not with the microorganisms themselves, which will be destroyed by heating, but with the toxins they produce, which won't be; salmonella works this way, for instance. We try to pitch large, healthy populations of yeast so they out compete undesirable microorganisms for the sugars. If it's already moldy, I think you've lost that ...
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